This weekend (Friday 16th – Sunday 18th of November), we were at the Bedford Festival of Romance! As you may have heard, if you are one of our Twitter followers or Facebook fans, the Festival of Romance was a weekend designed to celebrate romantic fiction in all its forms with over 40 romantic fiction authors taking part over the weekend.
It was a wonderful weekend and we really enjoyed everything – attending the award's ceremony, meeting loads of romance authors, sharing cupcakes with visitors at our book stand, and watching romantic Regency dramas!
Read on to find out more about our experience…
After driving up from Sunpenny HQ in Stoke, our MD Jo and Marketing Co-Ordinator Louise, attended the Festival of Romance Award Ceremony in the gorgeous Harper Suite. The awards ranged from Reader Award for Best Romantic Read to Literary Agent of the Year and it was lovely to see the mixture of shock and joy on the winners' faces. Congratulations to them! However, the highlight for us was presenting the awards for Best Romantic Film and Best Romantic TV Drama and we are pleased to say that the winners for these categories were Jane Eyre and Downton Abbey.
The day was spent at the Rose & Crown/Sunpenny stall at the Romance Fair held in the Howard Room after I (Steph) joined Jo and Louise in Bedford. This was one of our favourite parts of the weekend because it gave us the chance to get to know and chat to romance readers, authors and publishers alike! Thank you to everyone who stopped by to chat, nibble on one of our romance themed cupcakes or bought one of our books.
It was great to be joined by Althea Barr, the author of the newly released Breaking the Circle and Beverly Lemmer, author of A Flight Delayed, too. In the afternoon, Althea also took part in the Romance Readathon in the nearby Harper Shopping Centre where she read an extract from Breaking the Circle to shoppers.
Photos from the Romance Fair
The scrumptious cupcakes on their stand and the banner for our Rose & Crown and Blue Jeans imprints.
Louise ready for the opening of the Romance Fair after setting up our books.
The pretty red table cloth and our books for sale.
Regency gentlemen visiting our stand.
Watching the romantic Regency drama performance.
The first event on Sunday that we attended was 'Pitch Your Novel', where authors pitched their unpublished novels for live feedback from a panel of publishers which included our MD, Jo. It was particularly interesting to note the variety between the pitches and the creativity of the plots as read out from the authors' synopses.
In the afternoon, we were at the Romantic Fiction Conference and were treated to a fascinating array of speakers and panellists talking on topics such as, 'E-citing Times for Romantic Fiction' and 'After Fifty Shades: Where next for Romantic Fiction?'
Jo was invited to be one of the speakers and spoke about our Rose & Crown imprint on the topic of 'Inspirational Romance in the UK'. We were surprised to find out how many romance readers and industry professionals were unaware that inspirational Christian romance isn't just a US phenomenon and hope that we helped people to understand more about the genre.
The Festival was great fun and we all loved getting to meet lots of new people to do what we do best: chat about books, of course! Thank you very much to the main organiser, Kate Allan, and the rest of the team for all their hard work in organising the weekend. We hope to be there again next year. =)
You can find the official photos for the Festival of Romance here. They give a great flavour of the weekend.